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This I Promise This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Chapel Hill, NC
There are currently 11 poorly drawn butterflies on my arm. Each one has its own story. They stand for love, life, friends, family, enemies, everything. The butterflies are there to remind me I'm loved. In the past, I used to have a hard time remembering that.

I used to cut myself. Usually my right arm, sometimes my thigh. I still have the scars as a daily reminder. The last time I truly cut I can't remember. I probably do, actually. My mind is just blocking out the things I don't want to be reminded of. Now I'm just reminded of butterflies. I don't cut myself anymore.

I remember one girl accusing me of cutting to be popular. Another kid asked me if I could carve his name, like I was just a performer. The freak show who was there to entertain him. I remember I carved two names: Trevor and Gordon. Trevor was one of my few friends. He was always unique. His name was my daily reminder of why I'd been left with so few friends. I don't know why I carved “Gordon” into my pale arm.

I would cut myself with a broken CD that I kept in a box under a floorboard. I remember wearing long sleeves no matter the temperature to hide from others – to keep my secret. But one day it escaped. Like a butterfly through a hole in a net, it flew out. Eyes were glued to my arm, mesmerized by the faded cut marks stating “Trevor.”

I denied it all. But three girls I barely knew insisted I stop. I didn't listen, and soon I was called to the guidance office. I remember trying to rub my scars away in the bathroom before I went. I wanted to hide the evidence of my sin etched on my arm. I remember walking to the office counting every footstep. I remember walking in and seeing those three girls.

I exchanged awkward smiles with everyone before I quietly sat down. Then each girl gave reasons why I needed to stop. Why I was important. They tried to drill into me that I was beautiful and loved. The counselor called my mom, and I sat in tears awaiting my death sentence. At first she wouldn't believe it. Said it was just scabs, nothing to worry about. But I remember that night how she broke down crying. I remember sitting in my room feeling guilty, fighting the urge to go get that box under the floorboard.

Everything after that day just goes black. I don't remember anything else about cutting. All I know is I don't cut anymore. I draw butterflies instead. Every time I feel the need to cut, I grab a Sharpie instead of my broken CD and draw a butterfly to the best of my doodling abilities. Then I name it after someone I care about. It really does make me feel better.

The butterflies and I share a silent promise, the promise that I won't cut. For anyone who cuts, I have a message for you: you are beautiful, no matter what. You are a beautiful person inside and out and can do something great with your life. Instead of getting trapped in the pattern of self-harm, draw a butterfly. The butterfly will fade until it has completely flown away, along with your worries. This I promise.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

Alexandra R. said...
Apr. 6 at 3:30 pm:
Wow. There is a refreshing easiness to your writing style. I have never personally experienced this but I know people who have and this gives me a new appreciation for them and the things they have had to go through. I like how you don't condemn those who choose to release frustration and sadness in this way. I am actually writing a narrative in one of my classes where one of the characters goes through this and I really love the way you Handel it in a happier way.
 
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shapeshifter56 said...
May 8, 2012 at 12:04 am:

Wow. This is beautiful. I love your tone, and how it's not judgmental. I appreciate you sharing your personal story. I cut. I tried to stop, but it was hard. Maybe I will try the butterfly method...

Anyways, very well-written! Keep up the good work!

 
thatgirl27This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm :
I really do encourage the butterfly method. Nobody needs to feel poorly about themselves. Thank you for your support! :)
 
shapeshifter56 replied...
May 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm :
You're welcome :) Thanks for yours
 
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shapeshifter56 said...
May 8, 2012 at 12:04 am:

Wow. This is beautiful. I love your tone, and how it's not judgmental. I appreciate you sharing your personal story. I cut. I tried to stop, but it was hard. Maybe I will try the butterfly method...

Anyways, very well-written! Keep up the good work!

 
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